Monday, June 7, 2010

Canadian Annual Climate Change Report escapes scrutiny

The numbers are abysmal. The plan has been weakened. But if a tree falls in the forest does anyone notice. JJ7VET33QQQC

The Federal government sneaked one past us as they quietly posted their annual climate change plan (A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, May 2010) onto the Environment Canada website last week. You’d be forgiven for missing it, because you’d have to be searching in a remote part of their publications section to find it.

When you consider how important climate change policy is to public safety and to the economy; and when you consider how important carbon accounting is in the global economy and in our international treaty obligations, you have to wonder how the government can get away with burying such a significant annual report.

The report is required by law and comprises part of Canada’s treaty obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. There is no question why the government would want to shuffle this document into the back of the filing cabinet. The report baldly projects that Canada’s emissions will continue to rise through to 2012. The number-crunchers have also scaled back any projected emission reductions from government policy over last year’s report by a factor of ten. (See Matthew Bramley’s excellent analysis of the report on his Pembina Institute blog.)

Beyond just the bad news statistics, the plan demonstrates a gaping lack of strategy, action, or policy for addressing dangerous climate change.

If this same Government were to perform so badly in its financial reporting, in meeting its financial targets, or was this incredibly incompetent at managing financial affairs, the mewling and crying from the media would be heard from St John’s to Whitehorse. When it comes to mismanaging an issue as crucial as climate change, there was barely a whimper. I am not surprised by the silence, but I am puzzled.

Unless Canadians hold their politicians accountable, the government has no incentive to improve its performance on climate change or change its pathetic policies. Action to address climate change is the foundation of global economic growth throughout most of the rest of the world. The very future of our species could hang in the balance, as well.

If the performance of our government on this issue barely warrants a back page comment in the Globe and Mail and if Canadians let them get away with ignoring climate change, this country deserves the ugly wake-up call we will receive from the global economy when they pass us by, or worse, the slap up-side the head from planet earth when the effects of dangerous climate change come home to roost.

Download the document at the Environment Canada Publications link. Be warned, they want your email address before you can access it.

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